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EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN
A. Introduction: We have begun a study of faith, specifically some things Jesus said about faith and believing.
1. Jesus said that with faith the size of a mustard seed, we can kill fig trees and move mountains -- speak to things and see them change. Matt 17:20; 21:21,22; Mark 9:23; 11:23
2. But, for most of us, these verses don't work like Jesus said they would. We're taking time to examine God's word to see if we can locate the problem. We want to continue to do so in this lesson.
B. We've already identified several key points about faith. We want to restate those points.
1. Faith got us into the family of God, into the body of Christ. Now that we are in the family and are part of the body of Christ, everything that belongs to the family, to the body, is ours -- whether we believe it or not. Eph 2:8,9; Luke 15:31; Eph 1:3; Rom 8:17; Rom 8:32; I Cor 3:21,22
a. We often try to believe, try to have faith for things, when we should be acting like what we are and have. We try to take by prayer and faith what is already ours by birth, and it doesn't work.
b. We do not need faith for what already belongs to us, for what we already are and have.
c. It is only necessary that we know what belongs to us, what we are, and act on it.
2. We do exercise faith after we are born again, but it is an unconscious faith. We simply live, conducting our life according to unseen realities revealed to us in the word of God.
a. We don't think of our faith and how much we do or don't have.
b. We think of God's ability and His provision for us through the new birth. We think of His faithfulness to make His word good in our experience.
c. We do live by faith, but it is an unconscious faith like the faith we have in the word of a banker or a doctor.
3. Mustard seed faith (mountain moving, fig tree killing faith) is unconscious faith. It is acting like what you are and have because you in the family of God.
C. One of the things we possess now that we are in the family, in the body, is authority to act in Jesus' place to do the works of Jesus. John 14:12
1. While on earth, Jesus went about destroying the works of the devil, doing good, and healing people.
I John 3:8; Acts 10:38; Matt 8:1-34
a. Jesus would speak to things (diseases, demons, storms, loaves and fishes, fig trees) and they would obey Him. They would change.
b. Remember, Jesus did not do those things as God. He did them as a man united to the Father, anointed by the Holy Spirit. John 6:57; Phil 2:6-8
2. We are now to use His name and authority to do the same kinds of works Jesus did. Eph 1:22,23;
Matt 28:17-20; Mark 16:15-20
a. We do not use the name of Jesus as a magic charm. We use it representatively. He died as our representative. We now live as His representatives.
b. The right to use His name means we are to represent Jesus, to act in His place with the same authority He had.
c. In a very real sense, Jesus has given us power of attorney by giving us the use of His name.
d. Jesus said that whatever we demand in His name as His representatives with His authority, He will do. John 14:13,14
3. There are some parameters to what we can and cannot do in His name.
a. We are not talking about clearing out hospitals. You have authority in your life, over your body, in your domain -- but not necessarily over other people.
b. We are not talking about claiming ten million oil wells for yourself. We are talking about doing what Jesus did.
4. It does not take any special faith to use the name of Jesus, to speak or act in the name of Jesus.
a. It takes being authorized. You are authorized because you are in the family.
b. It takes knowledge (knowing that you have the right to use the name) and action (using it).
5. It also takes expecting it to happen, expecting it to work. When Jesus spoke to things, He expected what He said to come to pass.
a. Mark 11:12-14; 22,23--When Jesus spoke to the fig tree, He expected the tree to die.
b. Jesus cursed the fig tree, and when He and the disciples passed by the next day, it was dead.
When the disciples expressed surprise that the tree was dead, Jesus told them two key things.
1. Mark 11:23--Whosoever speaks to something and believes that what he says will come to pass, it will come to pass. That's what I did to the fig tree.
2. Matt 21:21--You can do what I did, too.
c. This worked for Jesus because He was authorized to speak in His Father's name and the Father backed His words and did the works. John 4:34; 8:28,29; 14:9-11
d. This works for us for the same reason. We have been authorized to speak in the name of Jesus and Jesus has promised to back it up. John 14:13,14
6. Jesus said mountain moving, fig tree killing faith believes that what it says will come to pass. In other words, it expects it to happen. How do you get to the point where you expect it to happen?
D. First, you must identify sense knowledge faith in yourself and get rid of it.
1. There are two kinds of faith -- sense knowledge faith which believes what it sees and feels, and revelation faith which believes what God says despite what it sees and feels. John 20:29
a. Sense knowledge faith is actually a form of unbelief because it is walking by sight. John 20:27;
II Cor 5:7
b. Most of us function in the arena of sense knowledge faith and aren't aware of it.
c. We base what we believe on what we see and feel without realizing it.
2. How do you know if you have sense knowledge faith or not? Take this little test.
a. You tell something to go or change in the name of Jesus and nothing happens. Your response is -- that didn't work. Or, I wonder why it isn't working?
b. How do you know it didn't work? Because you didn't see or feel a change. Your evidence is sense knowledge.
c. How would you know if it had worked? It you saw or felt a change. Your evidence is sense knowledge. That is sense knowledge faith.
3. Revelation faith (mountain moving, fig tree killing faith) believes that something is so without any physical evidence if God says it is so. Period. If God says something is so, it is so. End of discussion.
a. Our minds struggle with this kind of thinking and our natural response is -- yes, I understand all that, but it isn't working.
b. That response shows you're in the sense realm. God's word doesn't settle it for you. What you see and feel settles it for you.
c. Let's look at an example in the NT to help us identify sense knowledge faith. Matt 17:14-21
4. Jesus' disciples were unable to cast out a devil.
a. Jesus called them faithless (same thing He called Thomas--John 20:29) and said the failure was because of their unbelief.
b. v20--He told them the same kind of faith that moves mountains (and kills fig trees -- mustard seed faith) also drives out demons and disease.
c. What kind of faith is that? Faith that speaks to something and believes that what it says shall come to pass. Mark 11:23
1. It worked for Jesus because He was authorized to speak in His Father's name and His Father backed Him up.
2. It worked for the disciples for the very same reasons. Matt 10:1,8 (power = authority)
5. The disciples had no doubt tried to cast the devil out of this boy. In other words, they believed the Bible -- every word from Genesis to Revelation.
a. What did they do? No doubt what they saw Jesus do when He cast out devils. Matt 8:16;32
b. But, the boy was not cured and they all decided it didn't work.
1. How did they know it didn't work? By what they saw. That is sense knowledge faith -- or faithless unbelief.
2. Yes, Jesus, we know we are authorized to do this. We believe that. But it didn't work. Why?
6. Mark 9:14-29--Mark's account gives us insight into what happened when the disciples tried to cast the devil out of the boy.
a. They told the devil to leave and the kid had another fit, causing them to conclude it didn't work.
b. How do we know? That's exactly what happened when Jesus spoke to the devil. v20,25-27
c. What was the difference? Jesus expected it to happen. He expected the devil to come out. What He saw did not move Him. When it looked like it didn't work, He didn't immediately conclude -- that didn't work!
E. That brings us to the second element vital to developing faith which expects what it says to happen. You must be fully persuaded that what God says is so or will become so. For that to happen, you must meditate in God's word.
1. When Jesus explained to the disciples why the devil did not leave, one of the things He said was -- this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting. Matt 17:21
2. There is some controversy over what this verse means. It means: This kind of unbelief goes only with prayer and fasting. Consider these points:
a. This verse is not found in all early manuscripts. This is the only place it is found when it appears.
b. Numerous other verses tell us that all demons are subject to the name of Jesus.
c. That fits the context of Jesus' explanation as to why the demon did not leave.
1. Because of your unbelief.
2. Because you did not believe that what you said would come to pass.
d. Jesus (the man) did no special fasting or praying before He cast this devil out.
3. Prayer and fasting alone don't automatically remove unbelief. Rom 10:17
a. The purpose of prayer and fasting is to discipline the body and spend more time with the Lord.
b. The number one way we spend time with God is by spending time with His word.
c. The key to success in anything is meditation in God's word. Josh 1:8; Ps 1:1-3; John 15:7
4. If we are going to move mountains and kill fig trees, God's word has to have a greater reality to us than anything our senses tell us.
a. The facts of God's word have to be so real to us that even when sense evidence contradicts God's word, we aren't moved. I know what the Bible says and I believe all that, but -- look, feel, reason, etc. That is sense knowledge faith.
b. Mountain moving, fig tree killing faith is acting on the word of God without any sense evidence, in the face of contrary sense evidence.
c. To get to that point, you must take time to meditate in God's word.
5. Meditation in the word can seem overwhelming until you realize that meditation is actually chewing spiritual food, the Bible. Matt 4:4; Jer 15:16
a. How do you chew food? You take small bites of one type of food at a time. You chew it thoroughly until you can swallow it.
b. We should take one scripture or one phrase from a scripture and go over and over it for a period of time. We aren't talking about taking two hours a day to do this.
1. We're talking about turning the TV on fifteen minutes later than usual. Use that time to eat.
2. We're talking about meditating on that phrase or scripture, through the day as you live life.
6. We should focus primarily on what God has done for us through the Cross and the new birth. Areas such as these:
a. The absolute integrity and reliability of the Bible. Heb 6:18; II Tim 2:13
b. The redemptive work of Christ -- what He accomplished through the Cross. Gal 3:13; Col 1:12-14
c. The new creation -- the fact of receiving the life and nature of God in our spirits. II Cor 5:17,18;
II Pet 1:4; I John 5:11,12
d. God is the strength of my life. Phil 2:13; 4:13; I John 4:4
e. Surely He has born my sicknesses and carried my pain and with His stripes I am healed. I Pet 2:24
7. Take some of the verses from these past few lessons and go over them, think on them, speak them out until the reality of them dawns on you.
F. We have not said everything there is to say on the subject of faith, but consider these points.
1. The man Jesus spoke God's word with visible results. We can, we are to do it, too.
2. When Jesus spoke to the fig tree, there were no immediate visible results. Nothing happened that could be seen. Yet, Jesus walked away from the tree.
a. He did not examine it to see if it worked. He did not wonder of it worked or not.
b. His evidence that it worked was not the death of the tree (physical visible results).
c. His evidence was the word of God in His lips.
3. We speak to the tree and nothing visible happens.
a. We look: Dig around the roots, check the leaves.
b. We say: It didn't work. What if it isn't working? I wonder if it is working?
c. All of that is sense knowledge faith (doubt, unbelief) and it negates the word of God in our case.
4. You and I must get to the point where it doesn't even occur to us that it didn't work, that it isn't working -- no matter what we see or feel.
a. Can we get to that point? Yes, through recognizing and eliminating sense knowledge faith and through meditation in God's word.
b. That is when we will see fig trees die, mountains move, and demons and diseases leave.
c. Expect it to happen, and it will! God Almighty, Who cannot lie, said so!